Last year, Netflix got under a lot of fire with Catholics. Sometime after Georgia passed a new law outlawing abortion after the first trimester, Netflix announced they would no longer film in Georgia unless the law was changed. Many actors, such as Alyssa Milano, also protested on social media. As a result of this, Catholics I know on social media announced that they would “hit Netflix where it hurt”, meaning they would cancel their accounts. I was not one of them, and some Catholics I knew in groups on social media actually told me I was a “bad Catholic”. The fervor died down, as it always does. Then it got fired up again, because apparently Netflix wasn’t done ticking off their Catholic patrons. They released The First Temptation of Christ, a Netflix feature with a gay Jesus bringing his gay lover to see his parents. A bishop in Texas decried it, even though he admitted he doesn’t have the time to watch Netflix anyway. The bishop was quoted in the article linked, saying that “blasphemers don’t deserve one penny.” Again, many Catholics announced that they too would be cancelling their accounts.
I’ve always wanted to interview a religious sister, and now I have my chance. Here’s my interview with Sister Elizabeth Ann Dockery.
1. What was your childhood like? I came from a broken home and lived in poverty. There were constant trials and tragedies, yet I was surrounded by love, especially my holy grandparents who raised me and encouraged me by example to have faith and trust in God. I began working at a young age so I could have nicer clothes, take music lessons, etc. I excelled in everything I did thanks to the gifts of perseverance, grace, and old-fashioned hard work, resulting in full scholarships for both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. What seemed to be all odds against me ended up being a huge blessing with all of the life tools I ended up with.
2. Are you a convert to Catholicism or were you a cradle Catholic? Convert from the Church of the Nazarene.
3. What is your favorite biblical passage and why? 2 Cor 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” This is my favorite passage because the Lord has proven to me time and time again that His grace truly is sufficient and that my weaknesses are actually strengths in him.
4. Who is your favorite biblical figure besides Jesus? Elijah.
5. How did you discern that you had a calling to be a Sister? I met a Sister in a post office one day. I had never seen one before and was intrigued as a fairly new Catholic. She spoke with me and invited me to their convent. After two weeks of declining invitations I finally went. Upon arrival, I felt a peace which surpassed my understanding and like I was “home”. From that time forth I went there as often as I could as a volunteer. One day my boyfriend of 5 years said to me, “Do you realize you spend more time with the Sisters now than you do me?” It was then I realized I might have a vocation. I broke up with him, got a spiritual director, went on several “come and see” retreats and entered religious life after the Lord confirmed my calling with several signs.
6. Which order does your convent belong to and what makes it unique? We are Fransciscan. We are unique in that we live by faith–praying for provision, living in poverty without the securities of health insurance, regular income, etc. Prayer, praise, and evangelization are at the heart of our charism and ministry. While home, we are quite contemplative, living on an 840-acre ranch called “Prayer Town”. For ministry, we go all over the world doing short-term missions such as retreats, speaking at conferences, parish missions, youth events, and so forth. Then we return to contemplative life. It is a constant cycle of being filled then giving, just as St. Francis did. Praise is a way of life for us. We are charismatic.
7. What is the difference between a sister and a nun? A nun is fully cloistered and does not go from the convent, except with permission from a bishop. Sisters are those who are non-cloistered, which are most of us. Basically, if they are in public they are Sisters.
8. What are your duties as a nun? What service do you provide to your community outside of your convent? I am the Mission Advancement Director both inside and outside our convent. I am also head of our music department, overseeing and taking care of the instruments, books, training, and so forth. In addition, in the convent, I help keep the mission house I live in cleaned and maintained in my chore areas, help with cooking, yard work, and anything else regular people have to do when they own a house.
Last time, I broke down why Jesus is not a copy of Horus. But the atheists don’t stop with him. They’ve also proposed Dionysus. So for part 2, let’s continue debunking the meme.
Dionysus was a lesser god in Greek mythology, not even one of the major ones like Zeus. The whole thing started because someone wrote a book called The Jesus Mysteries, featuring an amulet that had an image of Dionysus on a cross. So does this mean we copied crucifixion from the Greeks?
Many times in autism groups on FB when I or someone else break the unwritten rule that the atheists there have specified–never mention Christianity in any way–the atheists there will use different tactics. There are some that I can just shrug off, but one tactic that is so misinformed really bothers me: the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic church. So I’ve decided to talk about it. Originally, I wasn’t because I wasn’t quite sure how to address the issue. But I’ve recently learned some methods that I can use.
First of all, the media misrepresents the issue. The number of priests who are pedophiles is actually not as big as the media would like you to believe. The secular media has been against the Catholic Church for a very long time. I think it stems from the fact that the Catholic Church has always opposed many things that the secular media promotes, such as abortion. The media see Catholicism as an enemy, so they look for anything that happens within the church to use against us, whether it’s taking the pope out of context or the scandals. That’s not to say the scandals don’t exist at all; that just means it’s overblown. Also, there are steps being taken. Why isn’t that reported? Because why talk about a positive, when the negative is far more interesting and appears to be more damning.
A few weeks ago, a rather reclusive man who was sort of a celebrity among evangelicals, especially anti-Catholic ones, died–Jack Chick. What? you never heard of him? Count yourself lucky.
Jack Chick was a comic strip artist who used his comics as a means to evangelize, or so he’d have you believe. In reality, he was spreading some of the most insane lies you ever heard. He though rock n roll–including Christian rock–was evil. He thought people who played Dungeons and Dragons were conducting séances and if their characters died in the game, the other players killed them. I don’t know what he thought of Pokémon or Harry Potter, but I’m sure he made tracts about them too. These comics were distributed at Churches and Christian book stores for years. You can even purchase them on his website. (And no, I’m not going to provide a link.)
“Every individual is made in the image of God, insofar as he or she is a rational and free creature capable of knowing God and loving him.”–Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem
This year marks the canonization of Pope John Paul II. He was born in Wadowice, Poland on May 18, 1920, and died in 2007. His birth name was Karol Jozef Wojtyla. He was my pope for most of my life. Like many of my generation, I remember his charisma and his presence in the media.
Karol was the youngest of three children. His mother died in 1929, when he turned 8. His eldest sister, Olga, died before he was even born. He was closest to his older brother Edmund, despite their thirteen years difference. Edmund died of scarlet fever, a loss that wounded Karol.
One of Karol’s passions, even in his youth, was soccer. While in high school, he played as goalkeeper and fell in love with a Jewish girl named Ginka.
In 1938, his father moved to Krakow, where Karol enrolled at the Jagcellonin University. Although he took military training as part of his instruction, he never fired a weapon. While at the university, he learned twelve languages, nine of which he used as pope.
In 1939, the Nazis closed down the university during their invasion of Poland. He began to work in order to avoid deportation to Germany. He received an injury while working in construction that fractured his skull; while another injury left him in a permanent stoop. He lost his father to a heart attack a year later. Then in 1942, he began his pursuit of the priesthood, becoming a priest in 1946. He slowly moved up in rank. In 1978, He presided as cardinal at Vatican II. He was ordained pope in 1978. He was the most travelled pontiff so far, and served the second-longest tenure in the role.
“You are looking for something you will never find”–Mary Magdalene to Clavius
There has been a huge market in Christian movies like God’s Not Dead, Fireproof, and War Room. Even the Narnia movies could count. One I’ve seen recently that I like is the just-released-to-DVD Risen.
Risen tells about what happened after Jesus was crucified. What’s interesting is that the movie isn’t done from the viewpoint of a follower of Jesus, like the Apostles or even Mary Magdalene. Instead, the protagonist is Clavius, a soldier who was present at the Crucifixion (he’s not actually in the gospels. There is a soldier mentioned in the accounts, but it’s the one who pierced Jesus’s side. It’s not said in the movie whether this is the same soldier or a different one.) The Sanhedrin are concerned that Jesus might indeed fulfill his prophecy that he would rise from the dead. Considering all the miracles he performed during his ministry, they have reason to be concerned. While the Jews did want to be free of Roman rule, they knew the danger of uprising. This is why the crucifixion happened, in my theory. Jesus was not what they thought the Messiah would be. He was too kind, not a person who would rise up an army and use His godly powers to make the Romans quiver in their armor. They knew the Romans outmanned them and had better weaponry. They wouldn’t stand a chance. Pilate was also concerned because he wanted to keep his position of power. After all, when Jesus was just a baby, Herod had ordered all Jews below the age of two to be killed to stop Jesus before he could even begin an insurrection. That failed, obviously, because now he had condemned the same man, one he deemed innocent and had only done so to placate the crowd.
I like how the movie sets up Clavius as a protagonist. He’s not presented as a villain. Like the rest of his people, he pays tribute to the Roman pantheon–Mars in particular (Kudos to the writers for knowing that some Romans didn’t worship the entire pantheon and had favorite gods that they looked to) He regards the Jewish god with indifference, and thinks little about this “Yeshua” trouble-maker (Note: Jesus’s name was actually “Yeshua” in the original text, not Jesus) However, Pilate is his commanding officer, so it would be best to see to it that Jesus does not rise from the grave. I love what Mary Magdalene tells him when he interrogates her. “You are looking for something you will not find.”